Underwater meadows are a miracle when it comes to sequestering carbon. Seagrass meadows are reckoned to absorb carbon 35 times faster than a tropical rainforest. They also provide a optimal habitat for some of the most rare marine creatures on the planet. In England, seahorses live in the seagrass.
Unfortunately, the UK’s seagrass meadows have vanished at a striking rate. According to some estimates, the country has lost more than 90% of them in the last century due to pollution and dredging, among other causes.
As a way to turn the tide for the seagrass meadows and their inhabitants, England has launched a conservation initiative billed as the largest seagrass restoration project in the country's history.
The project aims to plant eight hectares of seagrass meadows in the south coast. Four hectares will be sown in Plymouth Sound and the other four in the Solent Maritime Special Area of Conservation. The initiative launched precisely a week ago (on April 21) and will last for four years.
Boats loaded with seagrass seeds
On April 21, boats loaded with sandbags containing seagrass seeds set off from the harbour. Planters from the Ocean Conservation Trust (OCT) are dropping the bags at the right location and the seeds sink to the seafloor to form new meadows. As time passes, the seed will poke through the canvas and start recolonizing the seafloor.
The LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES project, led by Natural England, has been pushed forward by local volunteers who helped by putting the seeds in the bags at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth. Some volunteer divers will help monitor the project from below the waves. Mark Parry, development officer at Ocean Conservation Trust said to Positive News:
“This truly is a community effort. It is incredible to see the support from local communities supporting habitats for our coastal animal communities, a very proud moment.”
Positive News writes that Plymouth city council said the seagrass restoration project would support its ambition to create a national marine park.